Panetta: Taliban’s Murder Tactics Show Their Weakness

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky., March 2, 2012 — The Taliban’s adop­tion of mur­der tac­tics is a sign of their weak­ness, Defense Sec­re­tary Leon Panet­ta said here today.

There have been a num­ber of so-called “green on blue” inci­dents, in which mem­bers of the Afghan army and police killed NATO Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force troops, since the acci­den­tal burn­ing of Qurans at Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan. 

These inci­dents are being tak­en seri­ous­ly, but the Unit­ed States and NATO will not change its strat­e­gy in response, Panet­ta told 101st Air­borne Divi­sion soldiers. 

The sec­re­tary said he dis­cussed these inci­dents with Marine Corps Gen. John Allen, com­man­der of the Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force in Afghanistan. 

Panet­ta said Allen told him “the Tal­iban are going to resort to these kinds of crim­i­nal acts against our guys because, frankly, they are fail­ing in every­thing else.They haven’t been able to orga­nize them­selves; they haven’t been able to retake any of the areas that we have tak­en. This is the one way they can get some attention,.” 

The mil­i­tary will con­tin­ue with the strat­e­gy in place to work with the Afghan secu­ri­ty forces and train them to assume the secu­ri­ty load, Panet­ta said. NATO will ful­ly tran­si­tion the secu­ri­ty respon­si­bil­i­ty to the Afghans by the end of 2014. Today, the Afghan secu­ri­ty forces have respon­si­bil­i­ty for the secu­ri­ty of more than half the population. 

The fact that mem­bers of the Tal­iban are try­ing a new tac­tic will not dis­suade NATO and the Afghan gov­ern­ment from con­tin­u­ing with the strat­e­gy, he said. 

“It means that our troops have to be pre­pared to deal with this,” the sec­re­tary said. “We’ve got a train­ing brigade here that will be going over there. They’ve got to make sure these (Afghans) are prop­er­ly screened, prop­er­ly trained and they’ve got to watch each other’s backs.” 

While the “green on blue” inci­dents are hor­rif­ic and trag­ic, peo­ple must remem­ber that more than “99 per­cent of the Afghan army are doing the right thing – they’re there, they’ve shown over the past few days that they can con­trol these demon­stra­tions and do what they must do. 

“I’ve made clear and I will con­tin­ue to make clear that, regard­less of what the ene­my tries to do to us, we are not going to alter our strat­e­gy in Afghanistan,” Panet­ta said. 

Dur­ing his vis­it to Fort Camp­bell and the “leg­endary” 101st Air­borne Divi­sion based there, Panet­ta met with sol­diers prepar­ing to go to Afghanistan to train Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Forces there. He also vis­it­ed the Air Assault School and said the 101stalready demon­strates the agili­ty and speed the rest of the mil­i­tary needs to adopt. 

In addi­tion, the sec­re­tary also met with Gold Star fam­i­lies, who lost imme­di­ate fam­i­ly mem­bers in com­bat, and with the division’s leaders. 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

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